Saturday, August 22, 2009

#121 Gene Alley

#121 Gene Alley
In our continuing unofficial inventory of baseball equipment, put down Pirates shortstop Gene Alley as a Spalding man. The other thing that jumps out at me is that Gene has one pair of intense, glassy blue eyes. He could stare daggers through you.

Fun facts about Gene Alley:

-Gene signed with the Pirates right out of Hermitage High School in Richmond, VA in 1959.

-He debuted with Pittsburgh in 1963 and became the full-time starter at shortstop in 1965.

-Really came into his own in 1966, hitting a career-high .299 and also reaching personal bests in runs (88), doubles (28), and triples (10). That year, Alley also combined with second baseman Bill Mazeroski to set a record that still stands by converting 161 double plays. The duo each won Gold Gloves that season.

-Gene won his second straight Gold Glove in 1967, hit .287, and drove in a career-high 55 runs. He was also an All-Star for the first time.

-Despite hitting only .245 the following year, made his second (and final) All-Star squad.

-Never did achieve the offensive production of his early career, but his steady defense up the middle kept him in the Bucs' lineup for a full decade.

-Had just one hit in 27 postseason at-bats, but did earn a World Series ring with the 1971 Pirates.

-Shoulder and knee injuries hampered Gene for years, and he retired in 1973 as a .254 hitter in parts of 11 seasons.

-With just 55 career home runs, he took eight different pitchers deep more than once each. Among them were Hall of Famers Juan Marichal and Don Sutton (two HR vs. each).

-Post-baseball, Gene became a sales representative for a printing company. He's now retired and lives with his wife Beth, and golfs for leisure.
#121 Gene Alley (back)

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